Minneapolis, March 12 - The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long-awaited proposal to allow E15 to be sold year-round was finally released today.
Included were proposals to reform the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market.
In October 2018, President Donald Trump directed the EPA to issue a 1-psi reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver for E15, thus enabling it to be sold during the summer months.
“This proposal is long overdue as the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has said the RVP for E15 is indistinguishable from E10. By extending the RVP waiver to E15, consumers will have access to a cheaper and cleaner fuel during the high-driving season in summer,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.
At present, from June 1 to Sept 15, the RVP limit is set to 9.0 psi to reduce evaporation of fuel from cars and storage and transfer equipment which contributes to smog. The psi for E10 increases in the summer months by 1 but Congress-imposed a 1-psi RVP waiver for E10 in 1990. Today’s proposal by the EPA would extend that waiver to E15.
In the proposal, the EPA said “E15 would then be held to the same gasoline volatility standards that currently apply to E10, maintaining substantially the same level of emissions performance as E10 since E15 made from the same CBOB during the summer would have slightly lower RVP than E10 and would be expected to have similar emissions performance..”
However, with the RVP season for 2019 a mere 80 days away, Rudnicki said the EPA is racing against time to get the rule out by June 1.
“The EPA has not given itself much time and adding RIN reform to this proposal has the potential to add complications to getting this rule in time for the summer driving season,” he said.
Last year, E15 sales in Minnesota hit 59.4 million gallons but would have been substantially higher if there had been an RVP-waiver for E15, Rudnicki added. There are currently over 340 stations in Minnesota that offer E15.
Among the EPA’s proposals to reform the RIN market include prohibiting certain parties from being able to purchase separated RINs, requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds, limiting the length of time a non-obligatory party can hold RINs and increasing the compliance frequency of the program from annually to quarterly.
The EPA said the deadline for comments on the proposal is April 29 while several news reports, citing the EPA, said a public hearing on the proposal will be held on March 29.
The EPA's proposal can be found here.